Through Sarasota Film Festival’s Outreach and Education Department, middle-school classes participated in the Classroom Critic program and screened official short films selected for the festival’s youthFEST. In the critics program, they learned the basics of film analysis and critical review. Four film reviews have been selected for publication from more than 430 completed student reviews.
This week, two students review “Alma.” Check it out at the Sarasota Film Festival at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 11. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
The Out-of-Door Academy | Grade 6
For the little girl, Alma, it all started with a chalkboard. As she skipped down the streets of a snowy town, she signed her name next to the others. Alma turned around and found out there was something watching her. This something was a doll — one that looked exactly like Alma.
Rodrigo Blaas has created a very mysterious film that always keeps you on the edge of your seat, exploding with curiosity, like the only character, Alma. The animation is amazing, and everything moves smoothly like real people or objects. The music matches each scene perfectly, whether it is eerie or cheerful, and the sound effects build a suspense that almost kills you! Alma’s expressions and gestures also help tell the story because there is no dialogue.
The film is very clever in parts, such as the windows being shaped like an open-mouthed face and the posters of missing children on the wall of a building beside it.
As Alma saw the doll, she became confused and curious … very, very curious. She checked her clothes, and, sure enough, they were the same as the doll’s clothes. She looked back up and the doll was gone. The door of the shop slowly creaked open and she took her first step into the store.
Booker Middle School | Grade 7
Director Rodrigo Blaas shows that curiosity can often lead to unexpected things in his short film, “Alma.”
The film takes place in what seems to be an abandoned European city during the winter. Alma discovers a chalkboard covered in names and an eerie store filled with a wide variety of dolls. Alma encounters a doll almost identical to her appearance. She walks into the store searching for the mysterious doll. The ending is predictable, but it leaves the viewer wanting more.
“Alma” is a dark and beautifully animated short film. It is recommended for everyone except the youngest children, because some of the images are very scary. Despite that, the film is really entertaining and suspenseful.